Night Owls is a heartwarming and uplifting book, written by Jenn Bennett.
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she wants to do the only thing that she thinks will help her win a museum-sponsored scholarship contest – drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, mysterious… and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Bex begins to see who Jack really is and tries to uncover the secrets about his past. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Bex’s own family closet tear them apart?
This would definitely have to be one of my top ten books that I’ve read all year. It made me swoon and smile, laugh and even cry. It was one of those mixes where each chapter was completely surprising but the warm and fuzzy feeling I got while reading it was constant. Plus, I don’t think I’ve shipped two characters this much together since Clockwork Princess. I finished this book wanting to reread it from the beginning immediately – that’s how much I loved it.
One of the things I loved the most about this book (and something I picked up on immediately) was how beautifully the city of San Francisco was described. The setting was so vivid and it showed me not only the vibrancy of such a sparking city, but also the grit and what lay underneath the exterior. San Francisco was almost a character itself because it felt so alive and so much a part of this novel. I felt like I really got to know this city and understand its rhythm because we spent so much time being whisked around it. The city, particularly the inclusion of the night buses, was as quirky and fun as the characters.
This book wasn’t just sweet and heartwarming, it also dealt with some important issues that I haven’t read much about before. One of the biggest issues that this book brings to the discussion is disorganised schizophrenia, and how someone suffering with can be treated and how this affects their family. I liked how this wasn’t really the main issue in the book. Some books focus mainly on mental illnesses, and that’s good, we need books like that out there, but just because someone may have a mental illness, that doesn’t make it their defining characteristic. So because this book didn’t focus only on this illness, it showed that people have mental illnesses all around us and they shouldn’t be hidden away or treated differently for that. Illness is a part of life and it doesn’t discriminate. I just really liked how this book highlighted that fact.
Meeting Jack was definitely one of the highlights of the novel. I knew straight off where this book was heading from there, but it still managed to surprise me and catch me off guard more times than I would have thought possible. Jack was charming and attractive and he honestly was one of the most real characters I’ve come across in a long while. He melted my heart from the very beginning and I can never resist a guy that pursues someone like he did. As long as being amazing and sweet, he was flawed, like every person. But his flaws made him even more endearing and while I didn’t appreciate his lack of honesty at times, I could understand his reasoning and loved him even more. When he revealed the truth about what was going on with his family and his secret, my heart broke a little for him, but at the same time, I fell in love with him even more.
The only thing that annoyed me a little about this book was Bex in the first few chapters. After she met Jack, she would put on a ‘defensive’ front – which was more of a rude and inconsiderate one, if you ask me. Her actions towards him were unnecessarily mean and I couldn’t understand why she was being that way towards Jack. But I did find that it was sweet how Jack kept chasing after her and tried to get her attention. Once Bex’s hostility wore off a little, I grew to like her more and I fell in love with the relationship she had with Jack. I also loved how honest they were with each other towards the end of the novel. This book emphasised the importance of communicating and understanding one another, because I feel sometimes people need to talk more about their relationships and what they want, rather than just jumping right into things. They were both sensible people and I loved how realistic they felt. The relationship between Jack and Bex was just so refreshing. Their chemistry was undeniable and I loved watching their relationship grow. This book took me on one hell of a fun ride.
Possibly one of the most unique things about this book was the use of art. I loved Bex’s artistic flare and Jack’s secret creative side. I loved how these two forms of art came together in ways that you wouldn’t expect. Their passions were so vividly felt and I could almost see everything they created. Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed reading about was their families. I liked reading about how complex and often messed up both Bex’s and Jack’s family lives were and how this impacted on their every choice. It reminded me a lot of my family and I found a lot of similarities between Bex’s family and my own, which was comforting to read about.
Overall, Night Owls was one of the most uplifting, heartwarming books I’ve read all year. I’d definitely recommend it if you like contemporaries and are looking for a book filled with romance, friendship, family and art! I’d give Night Owls by Jenn Bennett a score of 9.5 out of 10. I’ve done enough typing now – it’s time for me to hear some of your opinions! Have you read this book? Do you enjoy reading books with these themes? Does this sound like something you’d be interested in reading? I’d love to know! 🙂
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!